ATHLETICS ARE FOR ALL STUDENTS
A recent article alleging a “PGCPS Supervisor Uses Discriminating Comments to Explain Cancelled Varsity Season” (October 10, 2018) unfortunately mischaracterized a sensitive situation at Bladensburg High School. Players, coaches and parents seem to have been asked questions without context, which unnecessarily divides the school community as it attempts to grow its program.
In a broad conversation about the decision to field only a junior varsity team at Bladensburg this fall, the reporter asked for possible reasons why the high school did not have enough experienced players to field a varsity team.
The reporter asked me whether parents expressed concerns about their children playing football due to the risk of concussions, health issues and other reasons that may have contributed to fewer experienced players trying out for this year’s team.
During this conversation, I described the school’s changing demographics and the success of Bladensburg High School’s predominantly Latino soccer and baseball teams. I did not “accuse” the community or “blame” students for lower participation in football.
I am surprised the reporter did not ask me whether I was pointing fingers if that was his perception. It was not my intention and I apologize to anyone offended by my comments.
The reporter also implied that the Landover Seminoles and the Hyattsville-based KCP Dolphins, feed youth-league talent into Bladensburg, which is not necessarily true. Youth in those towns may attend Fairmont Heights and Northwestern high schools.
Bladensburg has smaller youth football programs than some other parts of the county. Judging by this year’s canceled season, there is a clear need to identify more Bladensburg High School student-athletes with experience playing football and to expose more international students to the sport.
I have supported and welcomed children of all backgrounds in Prince George’s County Public Schools’ athletic programs for more than 20 years. That has not changed. I will continue to support the Bladensburg football team and its coaches as they seek to grow the program.
Coordinating Supervisor of Athletics Prince George’s County Public Schools